Bowery by Houston
I live right there and the cheap food in the immediate area is generally more "ok" than "good."
But, here are my "good" spots: Lombardi's (on Spring and Mott) is good pizza; Bianca (on Bleecker btwn Bowery & Elizabeth) is pretty good Italian food; Cafe El Portal (on Elizabeth btwn Spring & Kenmare) is good Mexican (but the margaritas are pretty bad); and Congee Village (on Allen btwn Houston & Stanton) is decent, cheap Cantonese.
If you don't mind heading to 1st Ave, I think Lil' Frankies and Lucien are both quite good for the price.
Otherwise, I find the following choices in the nabe all suitable, but not terrific:
- Cafe Colonial (Houston & Elizabeth) - South American
- Ghenet (Mulberry btwn Houston & Prince) - Ethiopian
- BarBossa (Elizabeth btwn Houston & Prince) - Brazillian (kind of)
- 24 Prince (Prince btwn Mott & Elizabeth) - American comfort food
- barmarche (Spring & Elizabeth) - French bistro
- Rice (Mott btwn Prince & Spring) - very cheap kind of Asian
I find the following inexpensive places either over-hyped (too crowded, too hip, not as good as some say), not worth it, or just plain not good:
Jorel, you've made a mistake in regard to the location of Congee Village. As noted above, it's at 100 Allen St., which is just south of Delancey. There's also a branch on Bowery, which is closer to Houston. I consider Congee Village much better than "decent." If you think they're just "decent," I'd like to know whether there's any Cantonese food in New York (including Flushing) that you consider "good."
Congee Village - 100 Allen St
The menu is like an encyclopedia of Cantonese food, so you can play it safe or really branch out (turtle soup, shark fin soup, etc.). A big steaming pot of congee is $2.50...
Never been to Congee Bowery but that's super close as well.
Link to both: